Posted in heaven, theology

What a day that will be!

By Elizabeth Prata

I hope you think of heaven every day. I hope you think of our home, the country where we are destined to go. I hope you rejoice in the fact that it exists. I hope you are thrilled with the fact that we will be joining the Savior in heaven someday. I hope you think on the fact that His work on the cross made this possible.

He lived as a human (though still God) … endured a lifetime of mundanity and obscurity (even though He is glorious King of All) … received mocking, insults, beatings, humiliation, and death on a cross (even though He received only praise and honor in heaven)… He did all that to be obedient to His Father, and to redeem a people.

We know all this. (I hope).

I do think about heaven a lot. What it will be like to be there. To be in a place of purity and glory. To praise Jesus.

Jesus expects certain kind of worship. He does not accept any type of worship we throw at Him. He has His commandments, which describe a high standard of having no idols, having no other gods before Him, and not taking His name in vain. He has His Old Testament, in which His standards are scrupulously outlined. (No strange fire, Leviticus 10:1-2, Numbers 26:61). He has His New Testament in which we are given precepts for worship and service (No lying, as Ananias and Sapphira discovered, etc). And so on. Jesus does not receive any old worship.

I often think of when I’m in heaven, praising him from pure lips. (Zephaniah 3:9). I contemplate the praise and song I will be delighted to offer Him. I picture the global Bride before His throne, singing and exclaiming to the King.

Then of late, my mental gaze shifts from seeing me in the global body, to picturing Jesus, receiving praise from His Bride. He will accept the song and worship and acclamations that He is due. He will accept praise and honor and glory and it will not be filtered through the Spirit (Romans 8:26-27). The worship Jesus receives on the Day we are brought home will not be rejected as having impure motivations (Proverbs 16:2, Jeremiah 17:9, Hebrews 4:12).

The praise and honor we give Jesus in heaven will be pure and holy and accepted as His due. I cannot wait to see that moment. Picture the global Bride, installed in heaven’s New Jerusalem, where there is no sun to compete with the Light that is the Son. Picture the songs and praises flowing from the rejoicing (and relieved) humanity He redeemed. Picture that glorious throne, upon which sits the King at the right hand of the Father, the train of His robe filling the temple. (I know I’m mixing metaphors and timing of the heavenly temple and the eternal state). Picture the light around His face, hair white as snowy wool, smiling as He surveys His bride, who is singing to Him.

When from our lips and hearts, we offer all honor to Jesus, and He accepts it, because He deserves it. Finally, finally He is given what He expects and is worthy of.

What a day that will be.

the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they existed and were created.
(Revelation 4:10-11).

And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. (Revelation 5:9).

set your mind on heaven verse

Posted in heaven, theology

Where is heaven?

By Elizabeth Prata

I love to linger in thoughts of the supernatural. God is supernatural, of course. He is above us here in the natural world. The Trinity is supernatural. Who can understand it? The creation in 6 days is supernatural, and amazing too. His omnipotence is surely on display right from the first verses of Genesis.

Angels are supernatural. Sometimes invisible hordes are all around us (2 Kings 6:17). And demons are supernatural. They are real, led by satan, the former highest angel. The Bible depicts demon possession. Jesus spent quite a bit of time casting them out. Just because 2000 years have gone by does not mean the demons are gone. They are still around, and will make an even more prevalent appearance during the Tribulation. (Rev 9:3, Rev 16:14, Rev 18:2, Matthew 24:37).

Do you ever wonder where heaven is? Is it right there, in a nearby dimension we can reach out and touch? The unseen gathering chariots at Elisha’s battle were there and became visible after Elisha prayed and God graciously opened his servant’s eyes. (2 Kings 6:17-20).

Heaven is absolutely a real place, it has physical properties, inhabitants, and activities within it. Bible verses say that it is above the earth, or people are called to ‘come up here.’ Or that they ‘went down’ from heaven to earth. But that could be language indicating that its heights are gloriously high because of the One who dwells there.

On the Mt. of Transfiguration, Jesus was changed as His glory shone out, and ‘suddenly’ He was speaking with Moses and Elijah personally and bodily. Is heaven parallel with us, alongside with us the whole time? After all, Jesus is omnipresent, and always ‘near.’ As Daniel was praying, before he even finished his request, Gabriel appeared. (Daniel 9:21). Is heaven that close?

Or, is heaven not yet physical and only a spiritual place where souls dwell, and God as Spirit dwells? That it will only become physically real after the New Jerusalem is completed and descends to earth? However, Jesus as God-Man IS physical, so how could He as a Person with physical properties dwell in a non-physical place?

Ow, my head hurts.

Thee is a story told by Dr. David Leininger at The Presbyterian Pulpit about heaven.

I love the old story of the rich man who, on his death bed, negotiated with God to allow him to bring his earthly treasures with him when he came to heaven. God’s reaction was that this was a most unusual request, but since this man had been exceptionally faithful, permission was granted to bring along just one suitcase. The time arrived, the man presented himself at the pearly gates, suitcase in hand – BOTH hands, actually, since he had stuffed it with as many bars of gold bullion as would fit. St. Peter said, “Sorry, you know the rules – you can’t take it with you.” But the man protested that God said he could…one suitcase. St. Peter checked, found out that this one would be an exception, prepared to let the man enter, then said, “OK, but I will have to examine the contents before you pass.” He took the suitcase, opened it, saw the gold bars and asked quizzically, “You brought PAVEMENT?”

Certainly this cute story makes the point to us that what we value here on earth will not be what we value in heaven, wherever heaven may be now or in the future. We will value Jesus above all, His glory, His ways, His nail-scarred hands and riven side. We will value each other as HIS trophies of grace, having no pride, love and care for our brethren as Jesus cares for us. We will value past salvations borne from His grace, the cross, His plans and ways.

The most precious commodity currently on earth, gold, will then be just dusty matter under our feet, our eyes not upon its glitter any longer, but upon the glorious Light shining from ever corner of the Universe, Jesus.

These are fun things to ponder. One of our Elders always says ‘Think Eternally!’

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Further reading

My essay was just a few thoughts, not an exhaustive or scholarly treatment of the location of heaven. Others have written aobut that, in the following links that may be of interest to you:

Grace To You: Where is Heaven?

Randy Alcorn at Ligonier: Heavenly Mindedness

Alistair Begg: Our Heavenly Dwelling

heaven

Posted in discernment, heaven, heaven tourism, macarthur, spurgeon

Heaven tourism books are bad; some heaven books are good

“Heaven tourism” is a phrase I believe was coined by blogger Tim Challies, picked up and used frequently by teacher and lecturer Justin Peters. It is a phrase indicating that a person has had some sort of trauma like a car crash or medical issue, or perhaps was in desperate emotional state, and in the unconscious portion of their trauma, they claimed to have visited heaven.

When ‘coming to’ they remember their alleged visit or vision, and write it down, later to become a book or a movie.

None of these visits are real. No person has gone to heaven and returned, (John 3:13; Deuteronomy 30:12) with the exception of the few persons in the Bible such as John, Paul, Ezekiel, or Isaiah and having subsequently written inspired text. John Gill’s Commentary says of the John 3:13 verse:

And no man hath ascended into heaven,…. Though Enoch and Elias had, yet not by their own power, nor in the sense our Lord designs; whose meaning is, that no man had, or could go up to heaven, to bring from thence the knowledge of divine and heavenly things; in which sense the phrase is used in Deuteronomy 30:12

John MacAthur’s sermon says of the John 3:13 verse,

You either take what Jesus says, or you’re a fool because, you can’t ascend into heaven and find the answers for yourself.

And yet these books keep coming. it is part of the demonic delusion and apostasy that satan, god of this world, instills in the vulnerable, ignorant, or hapless.

A new book is out by a man named John Burke. You see in his summary below that he did the typically wrong approach to biblical interpretation. He collected man’s stories and experiences, affirming them as true and credible, and then compared them to the Bible. He is in effect saying that the experience, simply because it occurred and mimicked something from holy text, that it must be true. The blurb says, their ‘experiences point to the heaven promised in the Bible’. Well, it’s the Bible that points to heaven, and as a matter of fact, the Bible’s version of anything is the only credible word on anything, because it comes from God, who cannot lie.

Imagine Heaven: Near-Death Experiences, God’s Promises, and the Exhilarating Future That Awaits You

Burke shows how the common experiences shared by thousands of near-death survivors–including doctors, college professors, bank presidents, people of all ages and cultures, and even blind people–point to the exhilarating picture of Heaven promised in the Bible.
This thrilling journey into the afterlife will make you feel like you’ve been there, forever changing the way you view the life to come–and the way you live your life today. You’ll discover Heaven is even more amazing than you’ve ever imagined.

We should be exhilarated at the glorious future awaiting us not because John Burke said so. We should be exhilarated by our glorious future not based on the flimsy experiences of man but by the word of God as revealed in the Bible. These heaven tourism books, like the one above, are specifically saying to you, “Never mind what God said about heaven, John Burke’s version will exhilarate you! Joe Schmoe’s tale will really get you going!” Blasphemous, isn’t it.

The Bible says we never look to experience first, it can be faulty. We look to God’s word first. Even the Apostles who were privileged to see a vision of Jesus transfigured along with Moses and Elijah, said that they do not preach their experience but test all things against the word of God. If that was the Apostle’s approach, men whom the Lord chose to carry His first message and were personally taught by Him, and who later wrote His words by Spirit-inspiration, would have preached their experience. But none of them did.

How much more important would it be for us today to follow their command and avoid preaching our experience? More to the point, how much more prideful and narcissistic is it to reject their commands and do it anyway? (2 Peter 1:20).

Do not preach your experience. Here is an excerpt from an essay written by Dr Bob Luginbill from the University of Louisville titled Scripture versus Personal Experience. I’m not familiar overall with the teaching of Dr Luginbill, but everything I read on this page discussing scripture vs. experience is explained well and accurately from the Bible.

In reality, of course, God is the One who determines how and when He communicates to us, and as it says in the book of Hebrews, “in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son”, even though before the incarnation He had spoken to us via prophets “at many times and in various ways” (Heb.1:1-2 NIV). So it is Jesus who is the Message; and He is “the Word of God” (Rev.19:13). We now have the whole written word of Him who is the Living Word, and that is the place to which we are now to direct our attention, namely to the truth of the holy scriptures. And we can certainly do so, because not only do we all have Bibles, and not only is the Body equipped with teachers who can illuminate it for us, but we all also actually have the Holy Spirit indwelling us for illumination, and He is “the [very] Mind of Christ” 

It certainly made sense for God to speak directly to, say, Enoch, before the Bible existed in any form. But if He really were communicating directly to believers in a verbal way today, wouldn’t that undermine the authority of the Bible, and all pastor-teachers, and in fact everything anyone else might say or have said to us except this special person – because after all the person with that special channel would be getting it directly from God. But the Lord has established His Church for a reason, and the mutual support we give each other for learning the truth is a very large part of what we are supposed to be about – this service is a large part of the basis for our eternal rewards. If there were a direct channel, we wouldn’t need each other much at all.

I do not recommend the Burke heaven tourism book or any of the books in this panorama below, many of which I have read myself and have found them to be unbiblical.

If you want to read books that are based on the Bible’s presentation of heaven, please consider some of the following. I’ve read all of them.

John MacArthur: The Glory of Heaven

A quick look at a list of bestselling books and you’ll see that heaven is a hot topic. After all, who doesn’t wonder and long to know more about the place you’ll forever live in the presence of God, untouched by sorrow, pain, and fear. What will it be like? What will you do in heaven? How will you recognize and relate to loved ones there?  

The problem is, runaway books about heaven are selling—and misleading people—by the millions. They are filled with fabricated, fictional accounts that claim to tell the truth about heaven. John MacArthur critiques those claims—and offers an in-depth, biblical explanation of God’s eternal city—in a fully revised, new edition of The Glory of Heaven. You’ll discover what the Bible really teaches about your glorious future home.

Erwin Lutzer: One Minute After You Die

“One minute after you die you will either be elated or terrified. And it will be too late to reroute your travel plans.” 

Death comes to all, and yet death is not the end. For some, death is the beginning of unending bliss, for others, unending despair. In this latest edition of the bestselling book One Minute After You Die, Pastor Erwin W. Lutzer weighs the Bible’s words on life after death. He considers: Channeling, reincarnation, and near-death experiences; What heaven and hell will be like; The justice of eternal punishment; Trusting in God’s providence.

Randy Alcorn: Heaven

What will heaven be like? Randy Alcorn presents a thoroughly biblical answer, based on years of careful study, presented in an engaging, reader-friendly style. His conclusions will surprise readers and stretch their thinking about this important subject. Heaven will inspire readers to long for heaven while they’re living on earth.

Randy Alcorn/Charles Spurgeon: We Shall See God- Charles Spurgeon’s Classic Devotional Thoughts on Heaven

Some of Spurgeon’s most powerful sermons were those that he preached on the topic of Heaven. … Randy Alcorn has compiled the most profound spiritual insights on the topic of eternity from these sermons and arranged them into an easily-accessible highly inspirational devotional format complete with his own comments and devotional thoughts.

The Bible is the only reliable source regarding heaven. Honor our Jesus, who descended from his abode in glory to live as a man on an earth whose ground had been cursed, absorbed all God’s wrath meant for us, died a horrible, humiliating death, and was buried in a borrowed tomb. His life of preaching and teaching and the Spirit’s subsequent inspired texts should be honored as the first and the last word. If you would rather look at heaven through Joe Schmoe’s eyes and not through the Spirit’s truth, you have a serious problem.

——————————–

Further reading

LifeWay abandons heavenly visitation resources

A Justin Peters video teaching: Heavenly Tourism (one hour)

Tim Challies on the topic of Heaven Tourism

Posted in eternity, God, heaven, prophecy, ten thousand year clock

Clock of the Long Now

A man is building a clock in the West Texas Mountains that will keep time for 10,000 years. It is a 10,000 year clock, and the foundation supporting this enterprise is called The Long Now.

It is written about the clock

Designed by Danny Hillis, the Clock is designed to run for ten millennia with minimal maintenance and interruption. The Clock is powered by mechanical energy harvested from sunlight as well as the people that visit it. The primary materials used in the Clock are marine grade 316 stainless steel, titanium and dry running ceramic ball bearings. The entire mechanism will be installed in an underground facility in west Texas.

Why is this man building a clock that will keep time for 10,000 years? Well, why does any man do anything? Why did they climb Everest? Why do they go down to the sea in ships? Why do they tramp the Arctic?

But this man, why is he building a long now clock?

I wanted a symbol of the future, in the same way that the pyramids are a symbol of the past. I wanted to build something that gave us that sense of connection. 

I’m Danny Hillis and I’m building a clock that will last for 10,000 years. ..One of the ways we keep the clock accurate is that we synchronize it to the sun… Exactly at solar noon the chimes begin to play. … They worked out a way of ringing ten bells in a different sequence each day, for ten thousand years. … We’re invested in generational thinking, and answering the question, ‘were we good ancestors?’ 

There’s a problem of people not believing in the future, a long-term clock challenges those short-term civilizational stories. I’m very optimistic about the future. I’m not optimistic because I think our problems are small. I’m optimistic because I think our capacities are great. 

Oh. I see. Like the Tower of Babel.

To see the Clock you need to start at dawn, like any pilgrimage. Once you arrive at its hidden entrance in an opening in the rock face, you will find a jade door rimmed in stainless steel, and then a second steel door beyond it. These act as a kind of crude airlock, keeping out dust and wild animals. You rotate its round handles to let yourself in, and then seal the doors behind you. It is totally black. You head into the darkness of a tunnel a few hundred feet long. At the end there’s the mildest hint of light on the floor. You look up. There is a tiny dot of light far away, at the top of top of a 500 foot long vertical tunnel about 12 feet in diameter. There is stuff hanging in the shaft.

And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. 4Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” (Genesis 9:3-4)

The first part of the Clock you encounter on the ascent up the spiral staircase is the counterweights of the Clock’s drive system. This is a huge stack of stone disks, about the size of a small car, and weighing 10,000 pounds. Depending on when the clock was last wound, you may have to climb 75 feet before you reach the weights. 

You keep climbing. For the next 70-80 feet of ascent you pass 20 huge horizontal gears (called Geneva wheels), 8 feet in diameter, each weighing 1,000 pounds. This is the mechanical computer that calculates the over 3.5 million different melodies that the chimes will ring inside the mountain over the centuries. 

And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. 6And the LORD said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. 7Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.” (Genesis 9:5-7)

This is what happens when man worships created things instead of the Creator. Man has an inherent notion of time. Man knows he is in a great slip-stream current of time, connected to those who have passed before us and linked to those yet to come. That is because God has put eternity into man’s heart. (Ecclesiastes 3:11).  Man seeks the great questions, desires to know the end of things, wants to achieve greatness under the sun- or on the plains of Shinar.

The 10,000 year clock’s design and these beginning moments of its construction are truly remarkable. That men could design such a thing does seem to indicate a nearly bottomless well of capacity for accomplishment. Yet man’s capacity is only as deep or as long as the Holy God allows it, as we know the end of the story of the Tower of Babel. What the 10,000 year clock really is, is a monument to man. What a shame to use all that money, time, skill, and labor for something that is really an ode to man.

What blessings he has given us to enter His courts and see the angelic beings with wheels within wheels, TRUE machinery that lasts ten thousand upon tens of thousands of years, eternities.  What greatness He has bestowed on us to hear the trumpet and harps and worship songs that are the chimes of heaven.

In Jesus we have the eternal questions answered. We know that we know we are in His slip-stream of time and in the current that is endless and infinite. We know we are good ancestors because He is our father, the root ancestor, having in us His greatness. Apart from Him we can do nothing, but in Him we can do whatever His will allows and sustains in us to do. From man’s perspective, the clock in the mountain in West Texas is a remarkable thing. It really is. Personally, I’m in awe of it and wonderstruck at the men who are creating it. From God’s perspective it is a mote on a gnat on a flea. My true awe is of the God who invented time. What a blessing He gave His children the eternal answers. We do not have the restlessness of clockmakers, but possess an eternal peace. In Him, in heaven, there is no time, and no need for clocks.

Posted in flood, heaven, jesus, jewel, mineral, young earth

Completely new mineral discovered: Putnisite

Source

It’s purple, translucent and goes by “putnisite.” Discovered in Western Australia, putnisite contains the unusual elemental combination of strontium, calcium, chromium, sulphur, carbon, oxygen and hydrogen and is notable for its dissimilarity from other, known families of minerals.

Salon.com explains,
It’s purple and pretty and composed of cube-like crystals just 0.5 mm in size. But what really makes putnisite, the world’s newest mineral, truly unique is that nothing like it has ever been discovered before. “Most minerals belong to a family or small group of related minerals, or if they aren’t related to other minerals they often are to a synthetic compound, but putnisite is completely unique and unrelated to anything,” said Dr. Peter Elliott, lead author of a new study detailing the discovery in Mineralogical Magazine. … Putnisite is named after German mineralogists Andrew and Christine Putnis for their contributions to mineralogy. What’s got scientists so intrigued by the mineral is its composition. It’s a rare combination of strontium, calcium, chromium, sulphur, carbon, oxygen and hydrogen that’s completely distinct from any of the other 4,000 known minerals in the world.

I love science. But I know Who the author of science is, God. He made the earth and everything in it. (Genesis 1:1, Acts 17:24, Hebrews 1:10). Jesus sustains it. (Hebrews 1:3). Insofar as man can, with his limited mental faculties (compared to God’s), he strives to discover his origins and learn about this creation in which we dwell.

For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. (Romans 1:19-20)

I love minerals. In Maine, as with many other states, there is a Mineralogical Society. Membership allows us entry to mining sites where the owners allow us to sift through their tailings. We often went on weekend expeditions with shovel and chisel and bucket in hand, to explore and try to find amethyst, quartz, tourmaline, beryl, and other gems hidden in the earth. In Maine you can also pan for gold, it exists in the rivers. But it was always too cold for us, so we usually only went on the rock hunting expeditions. Here are a few samples of some of the minerals we found.

Amethyst, quartz. EPrata photo
Quartz and Smokey quartz. EPrata photo

In Texas, we camped on the Woodward Ranch, where the teacher/geologist owner Trey Woodward gave you a shovel, a bucket, a pick and a hardy screwdriver, and let you hunt for red plume agate and opal. You brought it back and he’d tell you what is really good and what’s junk, and whatever you wanted to keep, he weighed and you pay a nickel a pound. This was in the 1990s. Trey Woodward died of cancer a few years ago.

 These are some of the things we found on the Woodward Ranch.

EPrata photo

Geodes are fun, They look like a dull rock, but if you split them open, there is a world of minerals in there!

EPrata photo

EPrata photo

EPrata photo

In Jasper Beach, Maine there are a billion billion jasper and rhyolite stones, tumbled to a smooth sheen and glistening in the Atlantic waters at the edge of a totally stone beach.

It’s the minerals in the granite stone that makes it sparkle. EPrata photo

Weather.com had an interesting list of the “8 Biggest Mysteries of Our Planet

1. Why are we all wet? Scientists think Earth was a dry rock after it coalesced 4.5 billion years ago. So where did this essential chemical, H2O, come from?

2. What’s down there in the core? The stuff of legend and lore, Earth’s core has long fascinated writers as well as scientists. For a while, the composition of Earth’s unreachable core was a solved mystery — at least in the 1940s. With meteorites as proxy, scientists gauged the planet’s original balance of essential minerals, and noted which were missing. The iron and nickel absent in Earth’s crust must be in the core, they surmised. But gravity measurements in the 1950s revealed those estimates were incorrect. The core was too light. Today, researchers continue to guess at which elements account for the density deficit beneath our feet.

3. How did the moon get here? Did a titanic collision between the Earth and a Mars-size protoplanet form the moon? There’s no universal consensus on this giant impactor theory, because some details don’t pan out.

4. Where did life come from? Was life brewed on Earth or sparked in interstellar space and delivered here on meteorites? The most basic life components, such as amino acids and vitamins, have been found on ice grains inside asteroids and in the most extreme environments on Earth. Figuring out how these parts combined to form the first life is one of biology’s biggest hurdles…[and a link brings you to the 7 theories on how life began…and so on and et cetera, always learning yet never above to come to knowledge of the truth…]

5. Where did all the oxygen come from? Understanding the shift to an oxygen-rich Earth is a key factor in decoding the history of life on our planet.

6. What caused the Cambrian explosion? The appearance of complex life in the Cambrian, after 4 billion years of Earth history, marks a unique turning point, said Donna Whitney, a geologist at the University of Minnesota. Suddenly there were animals with brains and blood vessels, eyes and hearts, all evolving more quickly than during any other planetary era known today. [For another take on a biblical explanation for the Cambrian explosion, see below]

7. When did plate tectonics start? Thin plates of hardened crust knocking about Earth’s surface make for beautiful mountain sunsets and violent volcanic eruptions. Yet geologists still don’t know when the plate tectonics engine revved up. [The FLOOD. Genesis 7:6, Genesis 10:25]

8. Will we ever predict earthquakes? At best, statistical models can tease out a forecast of future earthquake probability, similar to weather experts who warn of coming rain. But that hasn’t kept people from trying to predict when the next one will hit — with no success. [Prediction: There will be an earthquake in Jerusalem killing 7000 and a tenth of the city will collapse. This will happen the same hour the Two Witnesses are resurrected and ascend to heaven. Revelation 11:13.]

A summary of  flood geology
Other creationists accept the existence of the geological column and believe that it indicates a sequence of events that might have occurred during the global flood. Institute for Creation Research creationists such as Andrew Snelling, Steven A. Austin and Kurt Wise take this approach, as does Creation Ministries International. They cite the Cambrian explosion — the appearance of abundant fossils in the upper Ediacaran (Vendian) Period and lower Cambrian Period — as the pre-Flood/Flood boundary, the presence in such sediments of fossils that do not occur later in the geological record as part of a pre–flood biota that perished and the absence of fossilized organisms that appear later (such as angiosperms and mammals) as due to erosion of sediments deposited by the flood as waters receded off the land. Creationists say that fossilization can only take place when the organism is buried quickly to protect the remains from destruction by scavengers or decomposition. They say that the fossil record provides evidence of a single cataclysmic flood and not of a series of slow changes accumulating over millions of years.

Here are some fossils I found beautiful:

EPrata photo

EPrata photo

I often wondered, as I looked at my fossils, what killed them. Now I know.

It’s fun to speculate on the earth’s mysteries. It was a blast looking for minerals in western Maine, in Downeast Maine, in Texas, and all the other places we searched, looking for clues as to how the earth works. We loved to unearth its beauty- literally.

Please note that for the born again Christian the scientific mysteries are different than the mysteries the unsaved scientist will ponder. If one does not have God as the first cause, one will always wonder about the ensuing causes. So, another new mineral was discovered, and scientists cannot figure out why it is unrelated to any other mineral… When this happens they begin to reassess once again what they know, and what they don’t know. I’m glad I know what I know. God created the heavens and the earth…

And the minerals that we know, like gold and pearl, we will see in heaven and they will be beautiful. (Revelation 21:19-21). The minerals we don’t know but we will discover in heaven will be beautiful also. But the most beautiful gem of all, in the entire universe, is Jesus.

And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. … And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. (Revelation 21:10-11, 23)

Posted in heaven, jesus

Thoughts of the tree of life

Won’t it be great to see the Tree of Life!

In Genesis 3 we sorrowfully read that Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden after they sinned by eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They were exiled because the Tree of Life was there. If they ate of it whilst in their sinful state they would live forever in their sin. (Genesis 3:22). It actually was an extensive mercy to be exiled and put away from that terrible possibility.

“He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.” (Genesis 3:24)

I wonder what that tree looked like? Do you ever wonder that? A tree … of life!

Barnes Notes offers this beautiful thought on the above verse:

“[H]e sets his cherubim to keep the way of the tree of life. This paradise, then, and its tree of life are in safe keeping. They are in reserve for those who will become entitled to them after an intervening period of trial and victory, and they will reappear in all their pristine glory and in all their beautiful adaptedness to the high-born and new-born perfection of man.”

Where is that tree in safekeeping? Heaven. That time will come at the end of all things when Eden will be restored. Revelation 22 has it. The NIV titles the passage “Eden Restored”. The ESV, which is my preferred translation, titles it “River of Life”.

“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.” (Revelation 22:1-5).

Jesus was hung on a tree, a tree of death. “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24). (By this he means the cross).

His death led to life, first His in the glorious resurrection, and then ours as God drew men to Himself through the crucified tree…but all flows through the the tree of life which awaits the overcomers.

John MacArthur writes in his sermon “The Victorious Life”,

“But did you know that God transplanted that tree out of the Garden and into heaven? … Now that’s a big tree, if it is on both sides of one river! It has twelve kinds of fruit. Did you ever see a tree like that? Not without a lot of string on it! It yields its fruit every month. Its leaves serve as therapy for the nations. The word “healing” doesn’t refer to the healing of disease; it refers to providing health. We won’t be hungry or thirsty in heaven, but we will eat and drink for pure enjoyment. Revelation 2:7 says, “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.” That means the overcomer is promised heaven. The first delight for overcomers is the eternal enjoyment of God’s presence in His paradise.”

When your day gets dark or your strife too heavy, think on this promise. Eternal enjoyment of God in His paradise, feet dipping in the river of life, eating one of the fruits, sitting in the Light of heaven under the tree of life.. It will be a glorious tree, because His eternal glory is life itself.

Posted in bride of Christ, come up here, heaven, rapture

"Come up here!"

Though the rapture verses do not state explicitly, I think implicitly we can surmise that when Jesus calls to His bride at the rapture He will say “Come up here!”

One of the rapture verses states, “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16).

I believe the ‘loud command’ will be ‘Come up here!” Why? Because…

In Revelation 4:1, Jesus said it when He called to John, “After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.”

In Revelation 11:12, the Lord commands His two witnesses who had lain dead in the street of Jerusalem for three and a half days to “come up here!”

“Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here!” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies watched them.”

How exciting it will be when Jesus calls with the voice of an archangel and a trumpet and many waters (in other words, LOUD!) “Come up here!”

Transcending gravity, hurtling through space in a glorified perfect body, we WILL come up there, and we will meet our Groom.

“It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night.” (Like 9:38)

Posted in heaven, jesus

Your new name!

Here is a prophecy to look forward to!

Believers, if you have been faithful and your persevering walk is evidence of that faith, you will be given a pass into eternal glory upon which the Lord of Hosts, the Ancient of Days, the Holy-Holy-Holy Lord has written upon it Himself, personally for just YOU!

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.’’ (Revelation 2:17)

“But there’s an interesting little historical note, when a victor won in the games, whatever great games were being held, it was not uncommon for the victor to be given as part of his prize a white stone. And the white stone was his admission pass into the festival that was held following the games for all the victors. Could it be that the overcomer will receive the ticket to the eternal victory in heaven?”

Commentary on that verse:
“And then He says, “And a new name written on the stone,” and I read where they would do that. They would give the victor, like a trophy, a stone with his name and he alone could use it as his pass. “A new name written on the stone which no one knows, but he who receives it.” I can’t tell you how many people have asked me…what is that name? A lady will come to me any time I preach on the book of Revelation and say, “What is the name that no man knows?” Folks, I don’t know what the name is. If I knew what the name was then this verse couldn’t say what it says, it would have to say, “And no one knows except John MacArthur.” The only one who knows what it says is the person who receives it, that’s how personal it is. What it is to me is some kind of personal message from Christ to the one He loves which is given as an admission pass into eternal glory. I’ll know mine and you’ll know yours and we’ll know the Lord wrote them for each of us and for none of the others of us.” (source)

WOOP! It is huge to think of the precious Savior not only saving me, not only guiding and protecting me, not only providing for me, but when He brings me to glory (amazing!) He gives me a personal message just for me, out of the millions thronging there!

Friend, if you have ever been picked last, if you have ever had unwanted divorce thrust upon you, if you have ever been fired from a job, marginalized at home, or left in any feeling invisible and unwanted, THIS should pick you up. A secret message/name is waiting for you, just for you, with the Savior’s love and care personally imprinting it and gracefully extending it to you in heaven. What a day that will be!!!!!!!